James McMurtry On Mountain Stage Revered songwriter James McMurtry marks his 12th performance on Mountain Stage with his signature brand of astute, observational storytelling.
Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage
James McMurtry performs on Mountain Stage
Brian Blauser/Mountain Stage

Mountain Stage

James McMurtry On Mountain Stage

James McMurtry On Mountain Stage

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Texas-based singer and songwriter James McMurtry has been a favorite at Mountain Stage since he made his first appearance on the program in 1989. Host Larry Groce notes in his introduction that McMurtry "can create a character, set a scene and give you the kind of details and feelings that make you have an experience instead of just listening to a song."

His latest album, Complicated Game, was released in 2015, and McMurtry released a new single last year, "State of the Union," included here. "State of the Union" veers through the complicated political and social views within a family dynamic: "We're all in the family / The cursed and the blessed / It's the state of union I guess."

"This one is so old a whole generation has been born and grown to adulthood since I put it out," McMurtry says, introducing "Painting By Numbers" from his 1989 debut album Too Long In The Wasteland.

"We thought it would be a big radio hit in 1989," he notes. "Youthful optimism is a hell of a drug."

"State of the Union" is available as a digital download on McMurtry's website. McMurtry spent the first part of 2018 opening shows for Jason Isbell and co-billing with Oklahoma's John Moreland. His perpetual state of touring continues through the summer and into the fall; meanwhile, when he's not on the road, McMurtry and his band maintain a weekly residency at Austin's famed Continental Club.

SET LIST

  • "Childish Things"
  • "For All I Know"
  • "Copper Canteen"
  • "You Got to Me"
  • "State of the Union"
  • "Painting by Numbers"
  • "No More Buffalo"
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